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Engineering CELLS,
   Engineering RESPONSES


Bugs Making Drugs

The Microbial Cells Group aims to develop high yielding processes through engineering of improved vectors and host strains. Utilizing "-omics" based techniques to understand the regulation of metabolism and protein synthesis, the group will work on strategies to enhance product yield and quality in Escherichia coli and Pichia pastoris. The group also has experience developing vectors that couples stringent control of expression with non-chemical induction methods such as hypoxia.

Our research focus creates opportunities to provide expertise and to collaborate with other groups and industry in the production of molecules for proof-of-concept studies. Synergies have already been initiated within BTI to establish antibody fragment and phage production platforms to support the Downstream Processing Group, to explore their use as potential therapeutics and to serve as antigens to raise antibodies.

Working with the Molecular Engineering Laboratory, we express and characterize natural proteinaceous materials that possess intriguing combination of properties not found in synthetic materials. There are also on-going cross-council projects on microbial antibody based biosensors for on-chip diagnostics and rapid detection of cells and therapeutic markers.



Dr. Dave Ow

PhD in Integrative Sciences and Engineering (2007), National University of Singapore, Singapore

Research Focus/Interests
  • Analysis of cellular phospho-signaling and metabolic networks using a systems-level proteomics and transcriptomics approach
  • Development of acoustically driven microfluidic devices for biological applications
  • Metabolic engineering and production of recombinant proteins and DNA plasmids from microbial cells

Dr. Lim Hong Hwa

PhD in Neurochemistry (1991), Institute of Neurology, University of London

Research Focus/Interests
  • Regulation of cell division with specific focus on execution and maintenance of the checkpoint controls
  • Developing yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a cell-based screening tool
    - Engineering yeast strain to study and manipulate metabolic pathways
    - Antibody display in yeast

Dr. Candice Yam

PhD in Biological Sciences (2014), Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory, National University of Singapore

Research Focus/Interests
  • Regulation and maintenance of the DNA damage checkpoint pathway in yeast
  • Engineering yeast strains to screen for small molecules against human diseases and cancers

Year 2018

    Cai Tong Ng, Li Deng, Chen Chen, Hong Hwa Lim, Jian Shi, Uttam Surana and Lu Gan (2018) Electron cryotomography analysis of Dam1C/DASH at the kinetochore–spindle interface in situ. Journal of Cell Biology (Published Online)

    Srinivasaraghavan Kannan, Gireedhar Venkatachalam, Hong Hwa Lim, Uttam Surana, and Chandra Verma (2018) Conformational landscape of the epidermal growth factor receptor kinase reveals a mutant specific allosteric pocket. Chemical Science 9(23): 5212-5222

    Xuezhi Bi, Lijuan Ye, Ally Lau, Yee Jiun Kok, Lu Zheng, Daniel Ng, Kelly Tan, Dave Ow, Edwin Ananta, Christina Vafiadi and Jeroen Muller (2018) Proteomic Profiling of Barley Spent Grains Guides Enzymatic Solubilization of the Remaining Proteins. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 102(9): 4159-4170

Year 2017

    Pei-Yu Lim, Lee Ling Tan, Dave Siak-Wei Ow and Fong T. Wong (2017) A propeptide toolbox for secretion optimization of Flavobacterium meningosepticum endopeptidase in Lactococcus lactis. Microbial Cell Factories 16(1): 221

    Han Bin Pek, Pei Yu Lim, Chengcheng Liu, Dong-Yup Lee, Xuezhi Bi, Fong Tian Wong, Dave Siak-Wei Ow (2017) Cytoplasmic expression of a thermostable invertase from Thermotoga maritima in Lactococcus lactis. Biotechnology Letters (Published Online)

    Maximilian Klement, Jiyun Zheng, Chengcheng Liu, Victor Vai-Tak Wong, Andre Boon-Hwa Choo, Dong-Yup Lee and Dave Siak-Wei Ow (2017) Antibody engineering of a cytotoxic monoclonal antibody 84 against human embryonic stem cells: Investigating the effects of multivalency on cytotoxicity. Journal of Biotechnology 243: 29–37

Year 2016

    Katrin Weinhandl, Melanie Ballach, Margit Winkler, Mudassar Ahmad, Anton Glieder, Ruth Birner-Gruenberger, Ian Fotheringham, Franck Escalettes, Andrea Camattari (2017) Pichia pastoris mutants as host strains for efficient secretion of recombinant branched chain aminotransferase (BCAT). Journal of Biotechnology 235: 84-91

    Andrea Camattari, Amelia Goh, Lian Yee Yip, Gaowen Liu, Ivan Liachko, Maitreya J. Dunham and Giulia Rancati (2016) Characterization of a panARS-based episomal vector in the methylotrophic yeast Pichia pastoris for recombinant protein production and synthetic biology applications. Microbial Cell Factories 15(1): 139

    Wee Siang Lim, Kevin Kai Siang Phang, Andy Hee-Meng Tan, Sam Fong-Yau Li, Dave Siak-Wei Ow (2016) Small colony variants and single nucleotide variations in Pf1 region of PB1 phage-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Frontiers in Microbiology 7: 282

Year 2015

    Mazlina Banu and Dave Siak-Wei Ow (2015) Emerging Trends of Bacteria Detection from Food using Phage-Based Mass Spectrometry. Food Microbiology: Fundamentals, Challenges and Health Implications pp: 43-56 (Book Chapter)

    Han Bin Pek, Maximilian Klement, Kok Siong Ang, Bevan Kai-Sheng Chung, Dave Siak-Wei Ow and Dong-Yup Lee (2015) Exploring codon context bias for designing a synthetic thermostable invertase gene in Escherichia coli. Enzyme and Microbial Technology 75–76: 57–63

    Maximilian Klement, Chengcheng Liu, Bernard Liat Wen Loo, Andre Boon-Hwa Choo, Dave Siak-Wei Ow, Dong-Yup Lee (2015) Effect of linker flexibility and length on the functionality of a cytotoxic engineered antibody fragment. Journal of Biotechnology 199: 90-97

Year 2014

    Haojie Yu, Hong Hwa Lim, Natalia O. Tjokro, Padmapriya Sathiyanathan, Suchitra Natarajan, Tian Wei Chew, Thomas Klonisch, Steven D. Goodman, Uttam Surana, and Peter Droge (2014) Chaperoning HMGA2 Protein Protects Stalled Replication Forks in Stem and Cancer Cells. Cell Reports 6(4):684-697

    Mazlina Banu, Daniel Ng, Lu Zheng, Lin-Tang Goh, Xuezhi Bi, Dave Siak-Wei Ow (2014) Rapid quantification of Escherichia coli in food and media by bacteriophage T7 amplification and liquid chromatography-multiple reaction monitoring tandem mass spectrometry. Journal of Biotechnology 192: 50-58

    Hongqing Liang, Alessandro Esposito, Siddharth De, Suzan Ber, Philippe Collin, Uttam Surana and Ashok R. Venkitaraman (2014) Homeostatic control of polo-like kinase-1 engenders non-genetic heterogeneity in G2 checkpoint fidelity and timing. Nature Communications 5: Article 4048

    Charlene Li Ling Yong, Dave Siak-Wei Ow, Tandiono Tandiono, Lisa Li Mei Heng, Ken Kwok-Keung Chan, Claus-Dieter Ohl, Evert Klaseboer, Siew-Wan Ohl and Andre Boon-Hwa Choo (2014) Microbubble-mediated sonoporation for highly efficient transfection of recalcitrant human B- cell lines. Biotechnology Journal 9(8): 1081–1087

Year 2013

    Tandiono Tandiono, Evert Klaseboer, Siew-Wan Ohl, Dave Siak-Wei Ow, Andre Boon-Hwa Choo, Fenfang Li and Claus-Dieter Ohl (2013) Resonant stretching of cells and other elastic objects from transient cavitation. Soft Matters 9: 8687-8696

Year 2012

    Bevan Kai-Sheng Chung, Meiyappan Lakshmanan, Maximilian Klement, Bijayalaxmi Mohanty and Dong-Yup Lee (2012) Genome-scale in silico modeling and analysis for designing synthetic terpenoid-producing microbial cell factories. Chemical Engineering Science [Special Issue: Synthetic Biology] (Published Online)

Year 2011

    Geoffrey Koh, Ariana Low, Daren Poh, Yujian Yao, Say Kong Ng, Victor Vai Tak Wong, Vincent Vagenende, Kong-Peng Lam and Dong-Yup Lee (2011) Integrative analysis workflow for the structural and functional classification of C-type lectins. BMC Bioinformatics 12(14):S5

    Tandiono Tandiono, Dave Siak-Wei Ow, Leonie Driessen, Cara Sze-Hui Chin, Evert Klaseboer, Andre Boon-Hwa Choo, Siew-Wan Ohl, Claus-Dieter Ohl (2011) Sonolysis of Escherichia coli and Pichia pastoris in microfluidics, Lab-on-a-Chip 12(4):780-6 (Publish Online)

    Tandiono, Ohl SW, Ow D, Klaseboer E, Wong V, Dumke R, Ohl CD (2011) Sonochemistry and Sonoluminescence in microfluidics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108(15):5996-5998

    Tandiono, Ohl SW, Ow DS, Klaseboer E, Wong VV, Camattari A and Ohl CD (2010) Creation of cavitation activity in a microfluidic device through acoustically driven capillary waves. Lab on a Chip 10(14): 1848-1855

Year 2010

    Ow DSW, Lim DYX, Nissom PM, Camattari A and Wong VVT (2010) Co-expression of Skp and FkpA chaperones improves cell viability and alters the global expression of stress response genes during scFvD1.3 production. Microbial Cell Factories 9(1): 22

Year 2009

    Ng D, Chi HK and Wong VVT (2009) Constitutive over-expression of asm2 and asm39 increases AP-3 production in the actinomycete Actinosynnema pretiosum. Journal of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology 36: 1345 - 1351

    Ow DSW, Wong VVT and Camattari A (2009) Transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of glycolysis in microbial cells (Book Chapter). Glycolysis: Regulation, Processes and Diseases (Ed: Paul N. Lithaw) Nova Science Publishers Inc ISBN: 978-1-60741-103-1

    Ow DSW, Lee DY, Tung HH, Chao SL (2009) Plasmid regulation and systems-level effects on Escherichia coli metabolism (Book Chapter). System Biology and Biotechnology of Escherichia coli (Ed: Lee Sung Yup) ISBN: 978-1-4020-9393-7

    Selvarasu, Wong VVT, Karimi IA and Lee DY (2009) Elucidation of metabolism in hybridoma cells grown in fed-batch culture by genome-scale modeling. Biotechnology and Bioengneering 102 (5): 1494-1504

    Ow DSW, Lee DY, Yap MGS and Oh SKW (2009) Identification of cellular objective for elucidating the physiological state of plasmid-bearing Escherichia coli using genome-scale in silico analysis. Biotechnology Progress 25 (1): 61-67

    Selvarasu S, Ow DSW, Lee SY, Lee MM, Oh SKW, Karimi IA and Lee DY (2009) Characterising E.coli DH5a growth and metabolism in complex media using genome-scale flux analysis. Biotechnology and Bioengineering 102(3): 923-934

Year 2008

    Ow DSW, Yap MGS and Oh SKW (2008) Enhancement of plasmid DNA yields during fed-batch culture with a fruR knockout E.coli strain. Biotechnology and Applied Biochemistry 52: 53-59

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